"Vancouver National Anthem" as written by and Matthew Fredrick Robert Good....
Out of the alleys
On needle-strewn fields
Into the sunlight
The brochures reveal
Like snakes come for rabbits
And rabbits for meals
Where the ore and the axe flies

Well this is our story (stick to it!)
But it ain't the truth
Cuz the truth's just for liars
That need an excuse
Around here love's a gangster
And charity's the brute
Where God deals on Sundays
Under a brain burning roof

It's 5 blocks of universe
And aliens for reach
Like invisible ghettos
Of privledge and grief
And we end up between them
The carrion flies
Living off skeletons
Recycled lies

This is the place we find out
Well this is the way we find out

We all live downtown
Pay 12.50, no parking
Live with a clown
Step over ourselves
We all live downtown
Paying blood, no parking
Sleep on the ground
Step over ourselves
We all live downtown
We all die downtown
Step over ourselves (over ourselves)
We all live downtown
We all die downtown
Step over ourselves (over ourselves)
Step over ourselves
We all live downtown
We all die downtown
Step over ourselves (over ourselves)
Step over ourselves

Well this is our story (stick to it!)
But it ain't the truth
Cuz the truth's just for liars
That need an excuse
For a King crown a banker
The Queen crowned a noose
Like heirs to a graveyard
Where the dirt's always loose

It's 5 blocks of universe
And aliens for reach
Like invisible ghettos
Of privelege and grief
And we end up between them
The carrion flies
Picking off skeletons
Under a big northern sky

This is the place you find out
Yeah this is the way you find out

We all live downtown
We all die downtown
Step over ourselves
Step over ourselves


Lyrics submitted by apsham

Vancouver National Anthem song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI believe this is a first-tale account of more than just what it's like to live in Vancouver, but what it is to be homeless in Vancouver.

    Canada seems to have a lot of political hipocrisy in that we criticize other countries to death about poverty and lack of health care, etc. but our problems with the amount homeless Canadians are huge, and Vancouver, as far as I know, is one of the worst if not the worst. The UN declared that Homelessness should be a National issuu, calling our little homeless "problem" a big issue. That was a few years ago, Canada has done relatively nothing.

    A new legislation forcing the homeless in Vancouver city has recently been put up for approval- stating that in extreme weather cases this winter, the homeless can be put inside forcibly. (a fucking clear Canadian Charter of Rights Violation, that has only seemed to matter now, as the 2010 olympics are ready to roll in)

    ANYWAY. Matthew Good does his homework, He cares about Canadian politics, as any Canadian should. It's seriously fucking touching knowing that he's writing about this.

    Here are the lyrics that give the homelessness crisis away, in my opinion:


    Out of the alleys
    On needle-strewn fields

    (There is a very large heroin addiction problem in Vancouver, undoubtedly among the homeless.
    The goverment approved Canada's first safe-needle centre, with much controversy, here. I am not sure if its even still open)

    Around here love's a gangster (prostitution, maybe. Or maybe even just that love is hard)
    And charity's the brute (If you are homeless, You might often rely on Charities, but there are rules)
    Where God deals on Sundays (The Mission/Christian organization that dole hot dinners out on Sundays)


    It's 5 blocks of universe (Referring maybe to 5 blocks in particular?)
    And aliens for reach
    Like invisible ghettos (Nobody pays attention to the homeless here)
    Of privledge and grief
    And we end up between them


    We all live downtown (Homeless populations don't stand much chance of surviving unless downtown)
    Paying blood, no parking
    (The communities are violent and hard. The no parking line is fantastic in it's irony. )
    Sleep on the ground (duh)
    Step over ourselves (Maybe, implying that one must step over others to get ahead)

    That's what I think. I think its a great song. wow.


    stayunstillon October 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is pretty much the mentality of living in Downtown Vancouver to a "T". It ain't pretty.
    AlephErsatzon October 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsome corrections:
    "living off skeletons of recycled LIVES"
    I just think this line is important because to me it is a metaphor for finding a living picking through recycling and garbage that others have thrown out.

    I just wrote an essay analyzing this song for my Canadian Literature class. I think it is fairly clear that it is about the homeless and the poverty problem in downtown Vancouver. Completely agree with the analysis of Stayunstill. It is clear that the city does not seem to acknowledge the problem and obviously in advertising brochures for tourism and such the city would seem very positive with no evidence of such a drug infested downtown core. There is a lot of death imagery in the song, from the Carrion fly which feasts on rotting flesh, to "step over ourselves" which I see as the homeless confronting death everyday. I'm not sure what to make of the "king crowned a banker, the queen crowned a noose" part?
    corriejwon November 30, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI suppose I agree with the homeless interpretation, but I also consider the chorus to be from the prospective of an Vancouver resident, a non-homeless one.

    We all live downtown
    Pay two even, no parking
    Live with a clown
    //If you have lived downtown anywhere, this is pretty much true. Pay through your nose (2000 is alot), no parking and chances are you sublet or live with a roomate you may not like, or may be that "clown" type character.

    Step over ourselves
    We all live downtown
    Pay in blood, no parking
    //Again same thing, but this time I think it is more a reference to that fact that even with all the problems e.g. drugs and homeless going on none of the priveleged care, in a sense they pay in the blood of those less forunate who die ont he very streets they live on.
    Sleep on the ground
    //I always considered this to be that you pay all that money and rent and as a result you cant afford a bed. I guess it's a personal reference for myself when I lived alone and beyond my means.
    ChaseMacKenzieon March 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA perfect glimpse of the dready side of Vancouver's downtown East Side. Sure, the West Coast of Canada is damn beautiful and I'm proud to be from there (though I came from a small village on Vancouver Island). It's interesting that this song came out shortly before the Olympics-a travesty to the city which the media romantacised. What the fucked up BC Liberals should have done was put effort into cleaning up the sleazy downtown areas filled with junkies and other forms of corruption. There is a good reason why East Hastings is known as the gloomist part of Canada.
    River Wolfon January 30, 2011   Link
  • -1
    General CommentA correction to the lyrics based on the album version:

    Out of the alleys
    On needle-strewn fields
    Into the sunlight
    The brochures reveal
    Like snakes come for rabbits
    And rabbits for meals
    Where the ore and the axe flies

    Well this is our story (stick to it!)
    But it ain't the truth
    Cuz the truth's just for liars
    That need an excuse
    Around here love's a gangster
    And charity's the proof
    Where God deals on Sundays
    Under a rain burning roof

    It's 5 blocks of universe
    And aliens for each
    Like invisible ghettos
    Of privilege and grief
    And pinned up between them
    The carrion flies
    Living off skeletons of recycled lies

    This is the place we find out
    Well this is the way we find out

    We all live downtown
    Pay two even, no parking
    Live with a clown
    Step over ourselves
    We all live downtown
    Pay in blood, no parking
    Sleep on the ground
    Step over ourselves
    We all live downtown
    We all die downtown
    Step over ourselves (over ourselves)
    We all live downtown
    We all die downtown
    Step over ourselves (over ourselves)
    Step over ourselves
    We all live downtown
    We all die downtown
    Step over ourselves (over ourselves)
    Step over ourselves

    Well this is our story (stick to it!)
    But it ain't the truth
    Cuz the truth's just for liars
    That need an excuse
    For a King crowned a banker
    The Queen crowned a noose
    Like heirs to a graveyard
    Where the dirt's always loose

    It's 5 blocks of universe
    And aliens for each
    Like invisible ghettos
    Of privilege and grief
    And pinned up between them
    The carrion flies
    Picking off skeletons
    Under a big northern sky

    This is the place you find out
    Yeah this is the way you find out

    We all live downtown
    We all die downtown
    Step over ourselves
    Step over ourselves
    PaladinPhoenixon October 11, 2009   Link

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